My sincere thanks to Amanda who has really helped me in my hour of need by writing guest blogs. I will write something soon, it is very tricky typing one handed.
Man of Hope
Going back into lockdown we need something to hope about and this weekend I attended a 24-7 prayer gathering, I was thinking if there is one time this century we need prayer, that would be now! So, I went to learn all that I could, and I found hope there, in the grateful gathering of people turning to prayer to find hope.Onespeaker Heather Hannah rather beautifully said that the ache of the human heart is for hope. She had many interesting things to say about hope, so I thought I’d share them here:
“Hope is the joyful anticipation of good. It is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hope sees the circumstances of your surroundings saying one thing and hope saying another. Hope is the joyful expectation of breakthrough. Hope reinterprets our circumstances. Hope brings perspective.”
Hannah is a follower of Jesus or as some might say a Christian, she described hope as a gift and the title of her talk was ‘Abnormal Hope’. Seeing hope as countercultural because it says, ‘there is another way’, Hannah challenged me to see hope differently. I really was thankful for this new take on hope. That hope is a gift I can give to others by serving, by believing and a gift given to us through our faith.
Ernst Bloch a German philosopher in the Principle of Hope describes hope‘as the framework for human action’ I can see his point as Britain and much of Europe goes into its second lockdown. When the pandemic hit, we saw thousands and thousands of people taking hope to others through kindness looking after neighbours and strangers and we saw keyworkers giving up their lives to serve and care deeply for others in an unprecedented way. As I write this I fill up as I remember people’s sacrifice and how we have to do it all again. We need hope in this challenging unpredictable landscape. We need it for ourselves, for our friends and family, for our neighbours and communities and for our sanity.
As Archbishop Antje Jackelén of the Church of Sweden comments the pandemic, politics, discrimination, the climate change challenge, the unrest in the world, the refugee situation “all these things make people ask for hope.”It’s exactly at times like this we turn to prayer.Jurgen Moltmann, known as one of the great theological thinkers of our time, believes that God is closer to us than we are to ourselves, with the result that we cannot see him. A bit like holding a book right in front of your face, it’s so close you cannot focus on it.Moltmann actually wrote a book in 1964 called The Theology of Hope. But I love this analogy. That God is so close we cannot see him. It made me stop and think. It felt almost breathless at this thought! I’ve spent a lot of my life striving to find God and God’s love and what if he was right here all along? This gives me hope! I might judge myself and think I am far from God, but the message Hannah was bringing and the message of the Bible is that Jesus made a way for us to be this close to God! He is the man of hope. Wow! I am going to think about this some more…
My prayer and recipe of hope today is “Give us the courage and faith to be abnormal hopers.”